Apple and Twitter prepare for fight on online speech
The Future. Over the past week, Musk has been taking shots at Apple. The tech giant has pulled back advertising, threatened to pull Twitter off the App Store (although that may be cleared up now), and continues to levy its 30% fee on in-app purchases. The tension between Twitter’s desire to relax the rules and Apple’s speech and content requirements may be decided in court — just like Epic Games’ ongoing case.
Financially, Apple’s moves against Twitter are a big deal for the social platform, per WSJ.
- Apple is one of Twitter’s biggest advertisers, and Musk has said he’s already losing over $4 million a day from the overall pullback of ads on the platform.
- Arguably, the App Store is the most important destination to reach customers — getting kicked off severely impacts its ability to function.
- The 30% fee (15% after the first year) undercuts Musk’s plan for Twitter to make more from subscriptions than ad revenue — a key issue as Musk plans to roll out the delayed-again paid Blue subscription.
In retaliation, Musk has declared that he’s going to “war” with Apple — expressed through a tweeted meme, of course.
Free vs. Safe
That’s a little simplistic, but the battle of Musk vs. Cook is about which one of these tenants should remain the priority for online discourse.
- Musk has walked back his plan to institute a content moderation council and has let hundreds of previously-suspended accounts back on the platform.
- Many watch groups have reported an uptick in hate speech, which has scared off both advertisers and users.
- And with nearly all of the moderation team let go in Twitter’s layoffs, Apple has signaled that the platform’s ability to monitor hate speech or questionable content is now nearly impossible — prompting the potential App Store delisting.
- Musk has called Apple’s moves an “attack on free speech.”
With this being a battle between the richest man in the world and the richest company in the world, expect government agencies and representatives to start taking sides.